Anti-gay rabbi reinstated

February 2, 2012

Amsterdam's Orthodox Ashkenazi community has reinstated its Chief Rabbi, Aryeh Ralbag, who was suspended two weeks ago for signing an online declaration calling on homosexuals to try to overcome their inclinations.

The community's action against the New York-based rabbi, who travels to the Netherlands several times a year, had prompted a torrent of protests from across the Orthodox rabbinic world.

On Monday the strictly Orthodox Agudath Israel of America wrote to the community to say that it was "troubling" to suspend a rabbi for "expressing his religious conviction".

The Conference of European Rabbis welcomed Rabbi Ralbag's reinstatement on Wednesday as "a wise step in the interests of the Amsterdam community". A CER spokesman said: "We believe the summary suspension of Rabbi Ralbag for stating his halachic viewpoint was premature and misguided and we are very pleased that the community has decided now to work through these issues in a positive and consultative manner."

Last updated: 1:26pm, February 2 2012